When your team is working on a project, do you find yourself looking over their shoulders? Do you send out more than one email a day asking for updates? Have you ever handed out a project and then wound up doing it yourself when your employees came to you with questions? Are you always glancing at your employees’ computer screens to see if they’re on Facebook? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then congratulations. You’re a micromanager.
Managers and directors who hover over their teams kill productivity faster than anything. They also make employees feel uncomfortable, as if they’re children who can’t be trusted with a single project. Though you may feel like it’s your job to watch every move your employees make, you’re not a babysitter. You’re their boss. It’s time to learn the difference.
If you’re a micromanager and ready to change, here is our easy guide on how to stop micromanaging your employees.
Be selective when hiring
The hiring process can be a major strain on any department. As you comb through CVs and hold job interviews, your employees must take on the extra workload and fill in the gap of the missing employee. Managers know their team is understaffed, so they try to rush through the hiring process and choose one of the first available candidates who seems to be a good employee.
This doesn’t actually help anybody because in most of these situations, managers don’t take the time to feel out their candidates or get a feeling for whether or not the manager can trust the new employee. They end up hiring someone who isn’t a good fit for the company and continuing to micromanage.
Trust is key in any employee-manager relationship, and most managers who are confident in their teams don’t feel the need to micromanage. Therefore, when building a team, be selective about who you’re going to hire or bring from other departments. If you know your team works well together and does great work, you won’t feel the need to manage every single little thing they do.
If it takes a little longer to find the perfect employee for your team, don’t sweat it. Better to wait and hire the right person than hire the wrong person and do this whole process again in six months.
Set clear expectations
One of the best ways to keep employees motivated without micromanaging them is to set expectations for teams early and often. Having bi-annual or even quarterly reviews are a great way to sit down with employees and talk about where they’re excelling and struggling. Doing this more than once a year will encourage employees to take their goals seriously and inspire them to succeed.
This also gives you a chance to articulate your own goals and expectations for your team. If you have a certain quota that you need reached per month, you can discuss ways to achieve those goals. Your employee will also get the chance to ask questions and get clarification on work flows that might be confusing.
Create a new rule
When an employee comes to you with questions about a project, how often do you feel the need to jump in and complete the project yourself? You might think that your employee will never be able to do the job as well as you, so rather than teach the employee, you just do their job for them. This is micromanaging at its finest, and it makes employees feel useless and underappreciated in the workplace.
So set a new rule. From now on, whenever an employee comes to you with a question, they also need to bring at least two viable solutions to their own problem. This encourages employees to first try to solve their problem on their own and gives you a good chance to explain why one idea is better than the other.
This great teaching moment will help improve your employee’s problem solving skills and give you the chance to manage without hovering over your employee. When employees come up with the right decision, they often feel more confident and will need to ask fewer questions down the line.
Give an employee the full job
Have you ever given an employee a task and then complained when the employee did it incorrectly? Doing this sends the wrong signal to employees, and they won’t feel comfortable making any sort of decision again without checking with you first. You’ll probably have to walk your employee through the project step by step, which takes twice the amount of time.
To give your employee full reign, you have to give them the full project and all the details necessary to complete it. Set aside some time and sit down with your employee to discuss what the project should look like upon completion, any goals or milestones that should be met at certain points and any range of possibilities relating to the results.
Now comes the hard part: letting it all go. You need to make the effort to step back and let your employee take it from there. Agree on the checkpoints and milestones, and then cease all communication with the employee relating to the project. If they need something, they’ll ask. Otherwise, don’t say anything.
If the end result is still not what you wanted, support your employee no matter what. Acknowledge that tough decisions had to be made in very little time, and you would’ve made similar decisions. This shows that you support what your employee chose to do and you understand why they did it. Now you can discuss which decisions might have been better.
Now that you can see why you shouldn’t micromanage your employees, you’ll be able to stop yourself when you realise you’re doing it. Learn to be an encouraging boss and remember to always support your employees, even if their decisions were not what you’d suggest.